Hiring a Home Health Help Before an Emergency

Posted on January 30, 2022

If you worry about your parents being alone at home, suddenly having a medical emergency, and needing help at home, would you know what to do? These problems arise unexpectedly, and decisions must be made fast. 

Considering options ahead of time can make sudden emergencies far less stressful than trying to deal with decisions about hiring home care aides on the spur of the moment when you're in crisis mode.

In more and more households today, both spouses work right up until retirement age, leaving little time to serve as full-time caregivers. In many cases, adult children may not live within easy driving distance to stop in with groceries or daily visits. 

Today's seniors have an overwhelming preference to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. With more adult children working longer or living further away, an additional set of hands is often needed to make the desire to stay at home a reality. 

The good news is that there are a growing number of in-home care service providers available to help fill the gap for those of us looking for a bit of help. In addition to professional caregiving services, many faith groups have organized caregiving efforts available to check on seniors at home in their community. 

Another option is to tap into family, friends, or loved ones who live near a parent and can help assist on a limited basis or make sure that Mom or dad is safe at home. 

Technology can also play an essential role in keeping tabs on a parent's care for those with far-flung family members. Not only can tools like Skype and video chat keep you better connected with a "face-to-face" conversation, but there are also numerous tools that can provide peace of mind for a loved one living out of arm’s reach.

Making a case for An Aide

A professional home health aide can help your parents in many ways that will relieve you of worries, such as:

  • Make sure they eat properly
  • Ensuring that they take medications on time and consistently
  • Getting the parent out of the house to keep them active

Introduce the idea of home care slowly having someone come in once or twice a week for 4 hours and then adjusting the time. Hiring a nurse to meet with your loved one to have this discussion can be better than trying to handle it yourself.

Using An Agency Versus A Friend's Recommendation

Once the hurdle of getting your parents to accept they need home care help has been overcome, the next step is deciding who to choose: someone recommended by a friend or going through a home care agency has certain advantages. If the aide is sick, an agency can send another person to fill the slot. Agencies such as Partners in Care train the aides and have ongoing continuing education on dealing with terminal illnesses, dementia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and post-rehabilitation needs. Some insurance covers in-home care.

Keep the Relationship Professional

Even though you may want the aide to care for and develop a bond with your Mom or Dad, you probably don't want to come home and find them sleeping on the couch or bringing their child to work. Flannery suggests setting clear boundaries from the outset. These could include policies about absence or lateness, who feeds the aide, and other issues.

Making a Personal Connection

Partners in care have a lot in common with eHarmony when it comes to matching client and aide. Agencies try to match common ground as much as possible with the client. Would your Mom want someone chatty? Does Dad like Crossword puzzles? Playing cards?"

Checking Out Candidates

The state often regulates agencies, such as the New York State Department of Health. Look for agencies that hire trained aides. Agencies also screen for infectious diseases, criminal backgrounds and seek aides with good references. It also may be a bonus if the agency is a not-for-profit.